: 21-year-old British-trained Ukrainian infantryman heads to eastern Ukraine conflict zone
Politics19:30 Apr. 2, 2016
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21-year-old British-trained Ukrainian infantryman heads to eastern Ukraine conflict zone

Andrey Hladun was on Crimean Peninsula when it was seized by Russian troops

21-year-old Andrey Hladun is preparing to head to the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine. The young naval infantryman has already undergone extensive training both at home in the UK.

His decision to join the armed forces came two years ago. He was at that time a student on the Crimean Peninsula when it was occupied by Russian forces. He was impressed by the resolve shown by Ukrainian forces not to surrender. He joined them. Singing the Ukrainian national anthem outside his academy.

Read also 'Full ceasefire': 19 Ukrainian servicemen killed, 128 wounded in March

Andrey Hladun, lieutenant of the 36th Naval Infantry brigade: "It wasn't scary for us. We were ready to defend our academy, our flag. If you betray your country once, you'll do it again."

Andrey finished his studies in Odesa. Alongside two classmates he was among the first students in Ukraine's history to be send to Britain for training. He was offered the chance to stay in the UK to work further, but says he wanted to come back to build Ukraine.

Read also 35 Crimean Tatars detained in Russian-occupied Crimea

Andrey Hladun, lieutenant of the 36th Naval Infantry brigade: "I think we could become one of the world's leading countries. I believe in this."

Andrey still has one month before he will head to eastern Ukraine. New challenges await him there, where Ukrainian troops continue to come under fire from Russian-backed separatist forces.

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